Published: May 7, 2019
DOWNINGTOWN, PENN. — Pook & Pook is known for the unique and rare American folk art lots it often brings to auction, and its May 4 auction was no exception. An important Mahantongo Valley, Penn., turned and painted sugar bowl or spice cup and cover, dated 1861, inscribed Jared Stiely (Stiehly) came to the block with an $80/120,000 estimate — it sold at $128,100, with premium, to dealer Ed Hild and Patrick Bell of Olde Hope Antiques, New Hope, Penn., on behalf of a private client. At 9¼ inches, it stands as the tallest and most ambitious of the known group of lidded canisters that, by tradition, are believed to have been turned by Jared Stiehly and decorated by his wife, Elizabeth. Most were made for the Stiehly family, but the size, shape and extraordinary painted decorations of red and yellow flowers, fruit tree and large strawberry bunch indicate this example was made for the people who created it.
Speaking with Antiques and The Arts Weekly following the sale, Hild estimated that he and Bell have handled seven or eight Stiehly cups in the course of their career. On this particular example, Hild said, “To me, it was a very personal piece done by the makers, both the husband and wife.”
Olde Hope Antiques was fresh off the sale of two Mahantongo chests of drawers at the April 26–28 Philadelphia Antiques and Art Show, both of which came from a private collection and had never been offered publicly on the market.
When asked to describe the Mahantongo market, Hild said, “We’ve always found good interest in those pieces. People understand the rarity, especially if they’re collecting Pennsylvania.”
Watch for a full review in a future issue.
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